Among other activities this time of year, gift-giving is quite popular. As aging in place specialists, we have an opportunity to give something quite important to our clients as well as our own families. As we enter our own homes and experience them every day, and as we walk around the living spaces of our clients as we happen to be in their homes, we likely are going to notice many safety, accessibility, comfort, and convenience issues that can be rectified and modified.
Some of our concerns can be handled with very simple fixes, and some are going to be more elaborate and expensive to complete. Regardless, our clients may not be aware of how their dwellings can be improved to help them continue to live in them better and more effectively. They may have some idea of what isn’t working or what makes their homes more difficult to use, but they likely don’t have any specific concept of what it would take to make their homes more functional. This is where we come in.
We are going to offer them a gift of continued and enjoyable usage of their home long term. This is not a free gift necessarily but a gift, nonetheless, in that it is something we can provide that was not specifically requested or expected. We can begin by performing a free consultation or assessment, or we can charge for the assessment and evaluation. We certainly would include a fee-based proposal as a solution to our observations.
Not all gifts are free. Some might be given to us (and we certainly like receiving them), but others might be offered at a reduced price, have additional features or benefits included in the offer, or could be specially selected or customized just for us so that no one else is getting the same items. They say that it’s the thought behind the gift that counts. So, in creating a safety or functional solution for our clients, regardless of how extensive or pricey it might be, we are thinking of how much better their home is going to be when we are done.
While we will be charging for some, if not all, of the design and construction work to be completed, much of what we bring to our clients is essentially free to them – meaning that they are not directly paying for them and they are included in the overall assignment. They are not specifically being charged for our expertise, our years of experience, our education, our know-how, our professional relationships that will enable us to provide outstanding strategic partners to help us complete the work for them, our tools, or anything else we bring to the job other than how those might somehow be factored into our profit and overhead. We don’t, and can’t, charge for many of these variables that enable us to do the type and quality of the work that we do. Additionally, we may offer some type of a discount depending on what we are doing, their situation, how long it might take to complete, and other factors.
When it comes to gift-giving in the general sense, whether it’s for holidays, birthdays, retirement, births, weddings, anniversaries, or some other occasion, we typically take some time to look for just the right items to give to loved ones or people to whom we want to show our appreciation or gratitude for a service or kindness they have shown us. We look online, on a TV shopping channel, in a magazine or catalog, or at a retail store to find what we want. Then we pay for it and take it with us or arrange to have it shipped and delivered.
Sometimes, we might opt for a gift certificate or a shopping card when we really can’t make up our mind about an appropriate gift or want to do it quicker than taking the time to pick out something specific.
A gift is both a reflection of the giver and the perceived needs of the recipient. The giver thinks about what the recipient (in this case, the client) needs, can use, and will appreciate. The price is secondary at this point because they are many ways for achieving a satisfactory result. Some can be done quicker and for less money than others. It what is going into the project that counts initially in terms of the desired results. Then we can work on the details of how to achieve them effectively.
A gift that is given in any setting and for any purpose can be large or small, wrapped or unwrapped. In the case of a home improvement, the gift might be a little surprise that was not expected or counted on by the client but included anyway – something that we reveal at the end of the project. Maybe we were able to select a better finish, grade, style, or color – or more features – that we could deliver to our client for no additional money that would enhance the project and their enjoyment of their living space.